Sunday, August 17, 2008

Assignment: write a eulogy

Here's an excellent chance to compare the writing abilities of two of the Star Tribune's columnists: Nick Coleman and Katie Kersten.

For the assignment, each columnist was asked to write a eulogy about a person who died recently. Nick Coleman wrote today about long-time St. Paul columnist, Don Boxmeyer:

Over the years, Box wrote the best stories in St. Paul. I was a colleague of his for 17 years at the Pioneer Press, and Box always could come up with characters or situations better than any being invented by the new-age Novelizers of St. Paul. And his stories had the advantage of being real[.]

Like the story about the sailors from St. Paul on the USS Ward, who fired the first American shots in WWII, a homeless man living on Rice Street, or a Mexican-American veteran who went from meat packing in St. Paul to the front lines in war.

All in all, a remembrance that was sweet without being saccharine, and both genuine and well remembered.

Now, regrettably, we turn to Katie. Her entry was the story of a young man who died tragically in an automobile crash. Did Spot say "young man?" He meant "young Christian man," of course. Without the "Christian" adjective, Andy Wiersma would not have been worthy of Katie's attention. She admits as much, and it will rot your teeth:

So it wasn't a desire to memorialize a brilliant athletic career that filled the gym at Andy's funeral. But when you listened to people talk about this young man, you understood why they were there.

Andy had a way of reaching out to people and drawing out what was best and most beautiful inside them, according to Pastor Don LeClere of Evangelical Free Church in Marshall, where Andy served as interim student ministries pastor.

Andy Wiersma wasn't the subject of the column; he was merely the vehicle to spread Katie's grim gospel: you don't need to really worry about horrific automobile accidents. If you're a Christian, here's the denouement waiting for you:

But don't mourn for Andy. God surely reached out and grabbed him moments [after the collision].

So there you have it, boys and girls: Nick Coleman, writer, and Katie, ideological hack.

No comments: